Kukah’s hope: if Tinubu will succeed.

By Bolaji O. Akinyemi.

In my last article Kukah’s hope, Tinubu’s failure, I amplified Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah’s hopeful expectation of Tinubu’s Presidency and his 7 months of disappointing performance in the midst of prayers and patience of the people.

No doubt, Tinubu is not directly responsible for the state of the nation as at the time of taking over leadership, but can Tinubu be excused from the years of the Daura locust, when labours of farmers on field was eaten by herders’ flocks? Their communities invaded and houses burnt. Can we excuse the then APC national leader from his party’s internal politics that saw a recharge card seller authorise naira swap on behalf of the President to edge out BAT. Can we excuse BAT from the devouring of our national store houses; crude oil, solid minerals and naira?

My concern for President Tinubu and Nigerians is the agenda setting and narrative building that are similar to what Buhari enjoyed till failure was inevitable.

Tinubu will not succeed by prayers! There is no Government in Nigeria since I became an adult that we haven’t prayed for. He will not, because we wished him to in praise singing and positive thinking. I don’t know any President that succeeded by playing politics and promoting propaganda.

Walahi! I want Tinubu to succeed more than his praise singers do! But if the President will succeed, truth must be served him!

On insecurity, has he made brilliant and balance appointment? Of course! Away from the parochial tribal serving appointments of Buhari. But appointment is one thing, philosophy and operations is another. We have seen operational error in spite of his good appointments. Errors similar to what we witnessed several times under Buhari. The mistaken target by the Airforce severally never bothered Buhari but it did Tinubu and the many visits to victims proved it. The IGP was also in Bokkos on Friday, 29.12.2023, but the question is what is the cost of this many visits to tax payers who remained unprotected. Protection and not visitation is what Nigerians needs.

President Tinubu should be informed that political feasting and point scoring from the situation will not stop another one from happening. We are helpless if the President is contented with just visiting victims. The Christmas crisis on the Plateau is a critical example. It is a slap on him as the President and us as a nation that this last one happened. It is embarrassing! If it had been in a state where such had never been witnessed it would be a different case. What was the intelligence report submitted to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on Plateau with respect to the Christmas period by the DSS and the office of the Director of Military Intelligence? What was the advisory note prepared for him to consider on decision making to forestall what has become a recurring issue by the office of the Security Adviser? The Presidency should evaluate the relevance of Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) by their response time to the crisis. What can the President make of their preparedness or lack of it within the theatre of their operation?

I will concern myself with the obvious attempt to make the President fail and he will if he doesn’t come up with a different philosophy and modus operandi with regards to our insecurity.

The visit of Vice President Kashim Shettima was a good step in the right direction. But as it turned out, it followed this same pattern of philosophy of the past administration given the communication of the Vice President.

Recall that Buhari was begged to visit Benue and when he did, his position was unambiguous; “victims must learn to accommodate their killers”! Buhari was duty bound to protect his tribesmen who are El-Rufai’s cousins. Femi Adesina cleared the air on what President Buhari meant by the options he canvassed; your land or your lives? The choice was before the indigenous tribes. Their land they are not prepared to give and as we can see, their lives that Government failed to protect and now this Administration has failed to protect the people of Bokkos, Mangu and Barkin Ladi LGAs. Sad however, is the sustenance of the approach of the philosophy that drove the last Administration, which was intelligently communicated by the Vice President in the quote; 

“We must learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

My question to the Vice President is; how do we live together as brothers? The answer to my questions shouldn’t come until what went down on Wednesday, 27.12.2023 in Bokkos town has been duly considered.

The Vice President Kashim Shettima conveyed the condolences of PBT for the 3-day Christmas period onslaught on 25 Hamlets of Bokkos LGA from where the staggering statistics of 148 persons killed, 88 injured, some missing & an assortment of properties burnt. During the gathering in a public square, an attack was launched in another Hamlet in the vicinity of the venue hosting the visiting Vice President, Mr. President are you aware of this?

Regrettably, the message of the VP was abrasive; quoting Martin Luther to convey a sense that Plateau people will either perish as fools except they accommodate others in order to live in peace is against the dynamics of conflict resolution. The onslaught was on Christmas Eve, Christmas day and boxing day which continued even while the Vice President was in that vicinity. If the carnage was chosen for execution during Christmas, are the attackers Christians and the Victims Muslims? While I do not subscribe to the idea of limiting our problem to religious sentiment. Facts sticking out in that direction must be considered and promptly addressed or will never find solutions. If the killers were daring enough to dishonour the presence of the Vice President, then our sovereignty is at their mercy and only God knows what they will do next.

Is Mr. President aware that the neighbouring LGAs of Mangu and Barkin Ladi were also affected during the 3-day Christmas period attacks.

The key functionaries in the Team of the Vice President included National Security Adviser, Chief of Defense Staff, Chief of Defense Intelligence, General Officer Commanding 3rd Armoured division, Jos. How else can a President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces communicate is political willingness to end the crisis, but for the philosophy communicated by the Vice President. I gave up on the visit achieving anything. Because the mindset of the Vice President will inform is report note to the President on whose table the buck stops!

It could only take a President who is determined to succeed to make his first reaction on the crisis after more than 24 hours of the incident, and made based on sources that are best known to the president! A paragraph of a SOS cited from social media read; “We are sending an SOS to President BOLA Ahmed Tinubu to send in specialized forces from Abuja led by the Chiefs of Army and Defense Staff to Neutralize the terrorists”. It will be such a big American wonder to imagine that the President acted on such SOS as the briefing notes of the killing spree to send his Vice President and not a special troop is commendable. 

I have chosen to also make available information to Nigerians and Mr. President about a section of the public but may be denied him officially on the visit of the Vice President. This is of essence before victims will constitute themselves into a special troop in self-defense.

At Bokkos mini stadium, hosting venue of VP Kashim Shettima et al, the emotional turmoil of the IDPs was molded by repeated appeals from the clergymen and women influencers; yet, they demonstrated their resentment about three things;

(1) one of the District Heads was booed, stoned until he was whisked away from the venue by security; IDPs said he ignored their pleas and mismanaged their grieving by the way he handled deliveries of relief materials, investigating this should interest the President. Effective delivery of welfare to landlords who are unfortunately IDP’s owing to the failure of our security apparatus must not be overlooked.

(2) the divisional police officer, DPO, brought fulani leaders called Ardo into the arena with police escort; the vehement outpouring of the chants/shouts of No! No!! No!!! by the IDPs caused the DPO to hastily turn around out with his ‘customers’ including the police escort men.

(3) when Barr Caleb Manasseh Mutfwang as Gov of Plateau State invited two former Governors to join him at the dais; at the mention of Simon Bako Lalong, the IDPs booed! Was Mutfwang simply deploying political wits for a schadenfreude about governance in plateau state to entertain/embarrass the visiting VP and other VIPs cum guests? I leave Mr. President to conclude on the Social and political capital of the Mutfwang wits in advancing the ongoing search for peace and the antecedents of Lalong to be sourced from President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The Vice President showed excellent leadership mien, upon alighting from his vehicle, he headed to the IDPs and freely mingled with them and thereafter with guests at the venue before taking his seat for the very brief speaking engagement by LGA Chair, Gov & VP. I will maintain the need to investigate the philosophy of his narrative; was it an expression of his mind or the rehearsing of the brief of his Speech Writer?

Keeping to diplomacy and political correctness in the face of a looming war may end up to fast track such war. When bodies are counted in hundreds not of people you don’t know but of close relatives and persons you once shared life. An Igbo adage says the dead body of a stranger often feel like a log of wood. The humanity in us must condemned this. When humans are being pushed into mass graves as if to fertilise land for the growth of florae/grasses for cows to graze on. Then something is wrong with all of us! 

Whatever measure Mr. President will adopt to tackle the crisis must not leave the younger generation of Fulani to the mercy of their pastural culture. Every Nigerian child deserves secular education and they must get it. 

Protein, hide and skin are our economic gain from herding livestock; but is the earning from those resources worth the life of a soul?

It was gathered that the complacency, procrastination and complicity of all the security agents led to this because the writing has been glaringly clear on the wall since 13th November 2023 when a Fulani took a gun and shot dead a youth in BFP area of Bokkos and got away scot-free without arrest to date. The remote causes may not be unconnected with the unresolved assassination of a first-class Monarch of Bokkos in 2016 and, subsequently, three of his subordinate monarchs of his dominant Ron ethnic tribe.

Information gleaned from a community stakeholder stated that, on Monday the 18th of December, he sent SOS to both the DPO and Sector Commander that herdsmen were shooting sporadically in the BFP area. There was no response from Bokkos defense and security forces but the Army in Mangu responded and were shot at until they brought an Armoured tank. The armed herdsmen ran towards Bokkos without a single arm retrieved from them nor any single one of them brought down or to book.

He further said, he told the authority that all will not be well if they did not act to arrest those attackers. Is it any surprise that all the trouble we are now facing started from the troubles at Kambarpeli, in the same BFP area the herdsmen have been trying to assert their presence? He said he is lost to the use of the word “attack”! So, what does using the word “attack” meant.

To the public; let me caution on the need to be wary of Influencers like Reno Omokri, Daddy Freeze and Femi Fani Kayode, and lately Yul Edoche and others like them who will rather trend on the social media than see Nigeria built! Omokri’s abrasion of the scripture and history of the Plateau Crisis in the name of proffering solution is most unfortunate. Omokri provided historical evidence from the Bible but failed to balance it. The crisis in Abel and Cain’s case was not economic it was worship. And leadership (God) took responsibility and brought Cain to book as a Murderer. Who and who have been brought to book in our context?

On Abraham and Lot, Omokri was right but failed to amplified the resolution; how was that crisis resolved and what are the lessons we can learn from it as a nation? Mr. President, you are the “ONE MAN” who is President. The only one who is the C-in-C. Take charge of this! There should be a Presidential Peace and Resolution Committee with whom our Abraham and Lot must sit to find a lasting solution. 

Gangsterism and criminal enterprise of killings must have an original trigger! What is the trigger? Can we continue to ignore the expansionist agenda and pretend that what we have on our hands is farmer/herders Crisis?

Every ethnic tribe has its land allotment provided for in Acts 17.26; besides, science and technology has conquered space and time enough to avoid the limitations that existed in the era of Cain, Abel, Lot and Abraham. Successful models that have avoided the encounters of the medieval era exist and can be replicated easily in Plateau State beyond the ordinate cultural traits of Fulani for open field grazing that’s prone to conflict and criminal indulgences.

Omokri has no real-life experiences and exposure to Fulani whom Lugard rightly or wrongly described as “gravely immoral and seriously diseased”. How true is Lugard in the context of our experience? Omokri only exposed his shallow understanding and heavy reliance on secondary materials. However, he has set the table for discussion which am deepening by this humble contribution.

Let me school Omokri; the colonial administration doesn’t mark the beginning of life in the pristine ethnic territories that were whimsically grouped together by colonial hegemony to form Nigeria let alone economic activities. 

There were no fulani pastoralists on the Plateau highland until when colonial authorities granted the right to move across the country and reside in any part of the country they chose.

The fulani, unlike other ethnic groups, want to move their animals and graze on any land of their choice without seeking permission from the owners of the land. 

No matter how good the lands of Kano is for rice production, the Eggon who are experts in agrarian rice farming can’t relocate to Kano and start rice farming without the permission of the land owners. Same applies to all other farming and non-farming occupations.

That fulani who want to practice their occupation at the expense of other people must not be indulged! This reality no one should ignore except the Fulani.

Are there available proposals on how to effectively and efficiently manage the menace of herders/farmers conflict made to the Plateau State Government or the Federal Government? This will be answered in my follow up article; how safe is our safe haven.

Dr Bolaji O Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder President Voice of His Word Ministries, Convener Apostolic Round Table. The CEO Masterbuilder Communications also serves the Project Victory Call Initiative AKA PVC Naija as the BOT Chairman.